Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Total Produce Plc LSE:TOT London Ordinary Share IE00B1HDWM43 ORD EUR0.01 (CDI)
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  0.00 0.0% 165.00 - 0.00 00:00:00
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Food & Drug Retailers 4,535.1 62.8 8.4 20.8 640

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30 July 2007 Stock Exchange Announcement Total Produce acquires Wholefoods Wholesale Ltd. Total Produce plc, Europe's leading fresh produce company, announces that it has acquired 92% of Wholefoods Wholesale Ltd. ('Wholefoods'), the health foods distributor. Wholefoods is the leading distributor to independent health food stores in Ireland of high quality health products, including natural foods, vitamins and mineral supplements. Total Produce welcomes the opportunity to become involved in this sector which has grown strongly in recent years. The company recorded a turnover of €18 million in 2006. Total Produce expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing from the date of completion.
http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/european-fruit-shortage-looms-but-higher-prices-likely-to-boost-fyffes-1039259.html European fruit shortage looms but higher prices likely to boost Fyffes By Jim Aughney Wednesday July 18 2007 FRUIT prices are on the increase throughout Europe, the European Fruit Preparation Manufacturers' Association (EFPMA) has warned. The body that represents jam-makers has expressed its concern about a prospective shortage of fruit and the exceptionally high prices that may result. Harvests have reduced significantly because of late frosts in spring, which retarded blossoming, and recent heavy rains in central and eastern Europe. The reduction has been especially big in Poland, where the supply of various fruits is down by as much as 50pc. The supply of strawberries is down up to 40pc; apples down 50pc; and raspberries down 20pc. The EFPMA says that the price of apples in Poland has risen by more than 45pc. The association said that manufacturers of jams and preserves face price rises for all major fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, apples, cherries and apricots. John O'Reilly, analyst with Davy Stockbrokers, said the effect of the higher prices for Total Produce and Fyffes should prove positive. Higher prices are typically favourable for Total Produce. "For Fyffes, shortage of summer fruits (and consequently higher prices) are positive for banana demand and banana prices. The latest weekly green banana import price (Aldi) is the highest for this week in six years, even higher than in 2005 when the price throughout the year was exceptionally high," Mr O'Reilly said. Paul Meade, analyst at NCB Stockbrokers, said the improvement in banana prices is due to supply shortages of bananas and of local alternative fruits in some parts of Europe due to poor weather. "A continuation of this price trend through the summer when banana prices are traditionally weak should boost sector profits." - Jim Aughney
Russian energy Behind the Gazprom-Total deal Jul 13th 2007 | MOSCOW From Economist.com Beware Russians bearing gifts Jupiter ON THE eve of Bastille Day Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, handed a royal present to the newly elected president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, by allowing a national French company into Russia's mightily tempting energy sector. After years of deliberations, Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled energy behemoth that doubles up as the Kremlin's foreign-policy arm, has chosen France's Total to develop a giant offshore gas field in the Arctic. There is little doubt that the deal was struck personally between Mr Putin and Mr Sarkozy. A day before it was announced the two presidents discussed it by phone. Mr Sarkozy must understand that it was not a gift made lightly. For the past five years Gazprom had pondered what to do with the $20 billion Shtokman project, rich enough to supply the entire world's demand for gas for a year. It negotiated with several foreign firms and made them supply detailed bids; it announced a shortlist of companies which included Norway's Statoil and Norsk Hydro and America's Chevron, then last autumn, in a fit of energy nationalism, rejected them all in favour of working alone. Now it has agreed to give Total a 25% stake in the infrastructure company that will develop the field and share the profit. A further 24% could still be doled out to Norwegian or American companies, while Gazprom will retain 51% of the infrastructure company and 100% of the actual reserves. So why a sudden turn-around, just when Russia's relationship with the West is so cool? One obvious reason is that Gazprom needs foreign expertise and money to develop deposits which lie more than 300 metres under the surface of the Barents Sea, 600km off the coast of Murmansk. Gazprom has limited experience with offshore fields, particularly in such treacherous conditions. Gazprom needs to compensate for falling production in its other giant fields in western Siberia. If it does not develop Shtokman fast (its target is 2013) the much-trumpeted Nord Stream pipeline now being built across the Baltic Sea to Germany will be empty. Nor would Gazprom's ambition to get a share of the liquefied natural gas market in America-another destination for Shtokman gas-be fulfilled. Yet this does not explain why Gazprom chose Total, which had been considered the least likely winner. The answer is politics. The decision fits in with the Kremlin's tactic of striking bilateral energy deals within European countries and converting their national energy companies into fervent lobbyists for Moscow's commercial and political interests. The expansion of Gazprom and other national champions into Western markets has long been a Kremlin ambition, but direct and often clumsy approaches have not worked. Now it has powerful agents in the European Union. The deal with Total completes a set of joint ventures that Gazprom has built in Germany, Italy, Britain and now France. In Germany, Gazprom has a joint venture with BASF and a close relationship with Ruhrgas which owns about 7% of Gazprom and has a seat on its board. Germany's former chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, is the boss of a joint Russo-German consortium that is building the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany. He is one of the Kremlin's most vocal advocates. In Italy, Gazpom has a warm relationship with ENI and Enel. This year the two Italian companies (also after Mr Putin held a phone conversation with the country's prime minister, Romano Prodi) got a bit of Russian gas reserves. ENI is Gazprom's partner to build an extension of the Blue Stream pipeline across the Black Sea. And just as the relationship between Russia and Britain reached a nadir, BP agreed to form a joint venture and swap assets with Gazprom in exchange for receiving compensation for the loss of the Kovykta gas field. Gazprom may still give BP its 25% in Kovykta back, but it plainly expects favours in return. The Kremlin's deal with Total is more of the same but it has an additional political dimension. Mr Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was one of Mr Putin's staunchest supporters in the EU. Many observers have suggested that Mr Sarkozy might take a tougher line. By offering a lucrative deal to Total, Mr Putin has made a pre-emptive strike and has suggested that Mr Sarkozy should emulate his predecessor in his relationship with Russia. The timing is particularly sensitive as the EU and Russia head towards a collision over Kosovo. As Mr Sarkozy celebrates the deal he helped to secure for Total, he may ponder what Moscow expects from him in return.
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http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2664362.ece India's war of the vegetables Market traders are ready to wreck a retail revolution. By Richard Orange in Mumbai Published: 17 June 2007 "A riot will happen. In Jharkand, it was only one shop. In Mumbai, we could destroy 100 shops." Ever since mid-May, when an angry crowd of vegetable vendors tore apart a newly-opened Reliance Fresh supermarket in India's Jharkand state, young men like Shamrao Patil at the Vashi vegetable market in Mumbai have been waiting for Reliance Industries to bring its retail revolution to town. The rumour among the traders is that Reliance will be there within weeks. "Everybody here's talking about Jharkand," says Sanas, a tomato wholesaler, "and, yes, when Reliance opens in Mumbai we will do the same." In November Reliance Industries, India's largest private company, began the most rapid roll-out of a supermarket chain in history. In three to four years, Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire behind the chain, plans to have 4,000 to 5,000 shops - twice the number of Tesco's UK supermarkets. Together they will cover 10 million square feet - an area that Reliance says has historically taken 30 to 40 years to achieve in the US or Europe. The prize? A slice of an Indian food retail market estimated at $200bn (£100bn), which is today entirely in the hands of independent traders like those at Vashi, where all the vegetables needed to feed Mumbai's 18 million population are collected and distributed. Reliance aims to replace India's traditional food-supply chain - its network of growers, wholesalers and farmers' markets - with its own, rationalised system. When the roll-out is complete, the group expects to employ 500,000 people. Mumbai's vegetable trade union has close to 150,000 members and they know Reliance's arrival spells trouble. Bhupendra Bhosle, a union member, says: "If Ambani starts collecting vegetables directly from the farmers, the middle men are going to face a lot of unemployment problems." Starting at 2.30am every day, more than a thousand garishly painted Tata trucks roll up next to Vashi's vast concrete hangar, loaded with chillies and green peas from Chennai, and sacks full of onions, aubergines and green peppers, or crates of tomatoes, from Mumbai's Maharashtra state. They are met by more than 5,000 loaders, who bring the goods to the 1,000 independent wholesalers inside. Few will willingly reveal their cut. Rather than risk competitors overhearing their quotes, buyers join hands and negotiate in code using their fingers. But there's certainly much for Reliance to play for. One trader, Dinakar Patil, says he buys 40 to 50 sacks of green chillies, between 2.30am and 4am every day, from an agent at Vashi who in turn imports from Chennai. He pays around 90 rupees for 10kg, which he then sells on for 120-130 rupees a kilo to smaller wholesalers at the Byculla and Dadar markets in central Mumbai. The speed of the supermarket roll-out is causing growing tension. One week after the violence in Jharkand, a Reliance store was vandalised in Indore in Madhya Pradesh, and the chain has been forced to delay opening in Bhopal in the face of mounting protests. Politicians are jumping on the bandwagon. Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), a critical block in the ruling United Progressive Alliance, has called for a licence system with strict quotas to limit the spread of local supermarket chains, and an outright ban on the involvement of Wal-Mart, Tesco, Carrefour et al. Dharmendra Kumar, campaign organiser for No FDI in Retail, a group opposed to international companies in the Indian sector, says: "There's a lot of heat going on, particularly against Reliance Fresh, and the protests are going to become more and more intense in the coming days." On 9 August, he plans to launch a national campaign called Corporations Quit Retail, which he hopes will bring hundreds of thousands on to the streets across India. But the test will be when Wal-Mart arrives in the early months of next year, opening the first hypermarket of a chain that it hopes will cover 10 million sq feet by 2015. "Wal-Mart is very much a target, says Mr Kumar. "People see it as enemy number one. They have a huge capacity to source goods from outside, which will not only hurt the small retailer but small manufacturers." Wal-Mart is not necessarily destined to lose. Even at Vashi, not everyone sees the need to protest. Some doubt whether big corporations are as unbeatable as campaigners such as Mr Kumar imagine. Others see exactly which way the tide is turning, and know that Mr Ambani, with his billions, will not be easily deterred by a few broken windows
Total, Shell, Esso, Elf charged with dangerous handling of fuel at Nice Airport PARIS (Thomson Financial) - Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil unit Esso and Total division Elf are all to appear in court on Sept 25 charged with dangerous storage and handling of kerosene fuel at Nice Airport in southern France, legal sources told Agence France-Presse. According to the public prosecutor, the companies have kept some of their fuel in storage trucks on the airport's tarmac, in view of a lack of capacity at the airport's storage facilities. The local chamber of commerce is also being prosecuted for allegedly allowing this situation to occur. The defendants face fines of 375,000 eur each. tfn.paris@thomson.com afp/gt/hjp
Mumbai-based Tata Chemicals is planning to exploit its rural network to purchase fruits and vegetables from farmers and supply to retail centres via a recently-developed logistics venture. The rural initiative is expected cost to the company Rs 300 million initially, reports Economic Times. The company planning to set up 2 distribution centres this year in Ludhiana and Kolkata, hopes to increase it 20 over next three years, said Homi Khusrokhan, MD Tata Chemicals . The company will buy farm produce through its 800-outlet strong Tata Kisan Sansar and distribute it via the joint venture company Total Produce, formed in February with Ireland`s Total Produce.
May 07, 2007 TOT: Common Size Analysis of Total SA By William Trent, CFA of Stock Market Beat For a book project we are working on we conducted a common size analysis of Total SA's (TOT) financial statements. We figured it would be something worth passing along here. Total's common-size statements are presented below. The first step in conducting a common-size analysis is to review both the common-size income statements and common-size balance sheets to look for changes and trends that warrant further review. Once the trends are identified, explanations should be sought. Management's discussion of financial performance and the financial statement footnotes are good starting points, provided the reader maintains a healthy skepticism of management's explanations. These internal perspectives should be balanced by external sources such as industry reports, economic data, peer company financial statements and news reports. We present a common-size analysis of Total below including an initial assessment, income statement analysis and balance sheet analysis. Exhibit 1: Horizontal Common Size Income Statement Exhibit 2: Vertical Common Size Income Statement Exhibit 3: Horizontal Common Size Balance Sheet Exhibit 4: Vertical Common Size Balance Sheet Initial Assessment Total's horizontal common-size income statement is presented in Exhibit 1. Revenues grew 22.8% in 2005 and 39.2% cumulatively between 2004 and 2006. Total's horizontal common-size balance sheet is presented in Exhibit 3. Total assets increased by 22.3% in 2005 and declined slightly in 2006 for a cumulative increase of 21.3%. Assets grew at about the same rate as sales in 2005, but fewer assets produced a higher level of sales in 2006, indicating that Total used its assets more efficiently that year. In Total's Form 20-F filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, management notes that the "average oil market environment in 2006 was marked by higher oil prices, with the average Brent oil price increasing 19% to $65.10/b from $54.50/b in 2005." They further disclose that "Oil and gas production in 2006 was 2,356 kboe/d compared to 2,489 kboe/d in 2005, a decrease of 5% due principally to the impacts of the price effect (1) (-2%), shutdowns of production in the Niger Delta area because of security issues (-2%) and changes in the Group's perimeter (-1%). Excluding these items, the positive impact of new field start-ups was offset by normal production declines at mature fields and shutdowns in the North Sea." This explains the apparent productivity increase: rather than producing more petroleum with fewer assets the company produced less. However, due to higher oil prices the revenue from the production more than offset the decline in quantity. By comparing output rather than revenue we see that output declined 5% and assets declined less than 1%. By this measure, efficiency actually decreased rather than increased. Since management has control over production but not commodity prices, this may be a more appropriate measure. Income Statement An examination of Total's vertical common-size income statement, presented as Exhibit 2, shows that the while the company was profitable the entire time net profit margin declined steadily from 9.5% in 2004 to 9.2%in 2005 and just 7.9% in 2006. Investors will want to know if this trend is more likely to continue or to reverse. To do this we analyze the components of the income statement. Excise taxes declined steadily throughout the period, which increased net revenue available to the company. Whatever caused the decline in profit margin had to overcome this positive effect. Purchases offer a partial explanation. Rising crude oil prices hurt operating margins for the refining and retail businesses. However, while this expense grew substantially faster than sales during the three years (48.8% compared to net revenue growth of 39.2%) it does not account for the entire decline in net margins. In fact, Figure 5-1 shows that operating income as a percentage of sales increased in 2005 and the decline in 2006 still left the income from operations higher than it was in 2004. Instead, we see that the decline in net profitability was due to non-operating items: specifically "other income" and an increase in income taxes. Turning to the 20-F for information, we learn that the biggest reason for the decline was a one-time gain recognized in 2004: "The gains (losses) on sales of assets included a pre-tax dilution gain on the Sanofi-Aventis merger of 2,969 M € in 2004." Without the gain in 2004, other income would only have been 0.1% of sales, and the apparent decline in margins would not have occurred. With regard to income tax, the effective tax rate has been rising relative to pre-tax income, with the major factor being the difference between French tax rates and foreign tax rates. In particular, "The Venezuelan government has modified the initial agreement for the Sincor project several times. In May, 2006, the organic law on hydrocarbons was amended with immediate effect to establish a new extraction tax, calculated on the same basis as for royalties and bringing the overall tax rate to 33.33%. In September, 2006, the corporate income tax was modified to increase the rate on oil activities (excluding natural gas) to 50%. This new tax rate will come into effect in 2007." Some expenses can be crucial to a company's future success. For example, pharmaceutical companies rely heavily on research and development. Improved margins due to lower R&D spending may actually be bad news. For oil companies, the equivalent of R&D is exploration costs – expenses related to trying to find new sources of oil. Total's exploration costs were fairly stable as a percentage of revenue. Another industry-specific expense is depletion, which is the counterpart to exploration and the equivalent of depreciation for fixed assets. When new oil discoveries are made an estimate of the total available oil is added to assets. The depletion charge represents the amount used up each year from the resources. For forecasting future net margins, we would probably want to use the more recent years as a guideline. Tax rate increases should be considered permanent, and the 2004 net gain appears to have been a one-time event. Balance Sheet Note that Total presents its balance sheet with long-term assets and liabilities above current assets and liabilities. This presentation is fairly common outside the United States. Remember that revenues grew 22.8% in 2005 and 39.2% cumulatively between 2004 and 2006. Total assets increased by 22.3% in 2005 and declined slightly in 2006 for a cumulative increase of 21.3%. When reviewing common-size balance sheets, particular attention should be paid to individual items that are not in line with this trend. Assets Beginning with long-term assets, intangible assets rose faster than sales or total assets while tangible assets (property, plant and equipment) grew slower. By their nature intangible assets are difficult to value, and subjective judgment is involved. Investors should always investigate the composition of intangible assets. Looking at Note 10 in Total's 20-F we find that the increase in 2005 was mostly due to acquired mineral rights. Assuming the valuation was performed appropriately this is a valid asset. In 2006 acquisitions of other companies resulted in the change. Rapidly growing intangible assets and slow-growing property and equipment indicates the company may be pursuing a "buy versus build" strategy. In aggregate, long-term tangible and intangible assets amounted to 43.9% of total assets in 2004, 42.3% in 2005 and 43.1% in 2006 – a fairly constant proportion. Equity and other investments also stayed fairly consistent as a percentage of assets. Hedging instruments of non-current financial debt declined as a percentage of assets. However, looking further down the balance sheet we see that the non-current debt increased in both absolute and percentage terms. It is possible that the company reduced the amount of overall hedges, or that the hedges declined in value (which would normally be offset by a similar change in the fair value of the hedged liability.) The discussion in the 20-F reveals losses is limited to the change between 2005 and 2006, so it is necessary to refer to the 2005 20-F to learn about the large decline between 2004 and 2005. In doing so, we find that currency and interest rate swaps lost value. Currency and interest rate movements were of a favorable direction, so any currency and interest rate hedges were unfavorable. Although the amount of debt changed year/year it is possible to gauge the overall impact by comparing debt maturing in specific years. For example, in 2004 Total had $2,241 million of bonds issued that mature in 2008. In 2005, the amount of 2008 maturities was similar at $2,256. However, the fair value of interest and currency swaps on the 2008 maturities had fallen from $398 million to $117 million. Similar declines were seen across other maturity dates. From 2005 to 2006 there was a decline in "other non-current financial assets." Note 14 of the 20-F explains that the company used up some deferred tax assets during the year. As discussed in Chapter 3, deferred tax assets represent differences between earnings reported to shareholders and earnings reported to the tax authorities. Assets arise when book earnings are lower than tax earnings, frequently because of tax loss carry-forwards. As the company earns money in future periods it can use these carry-forwards to offset current period taxes. By contrast, deferred tax liabilities arise when the company's reported book earnings are higher than reported tax earnings. This can be caused by use of accelerated depreciation for tax purposes, for example, and represents a tax payment that has been recognized in the income statement but not yet paid. Looking further down the balance sheet, we see that deferred tax liabilities grew in both years, though at a slower rate than either sales or total assets. As a result, they declined as a percentage of assets from 7.2% in 2004 to 6.8% in 2006. In aggregate, non-current assets declined from 62.0% of total assets in 2004 to 59.3% in 2006. Turning to current assets, both inventories and accounts receivable grew faster than sales or assets in 2005, but declined in 2006. Over the entire two-year period inventories grew faster than total assets but slower than sales. Since sales are made directly from inventory and often result in accounts receivable, the comparison to sales indicates that working capital was efficiently managed in 2006. Prepaid expenses and other current assets rose faster than assets and in line with sales for the entire period. Investors frequently devote special attention to the "other" category because changes there sometimes indicate earnings management since such assets arise when more earnings appear on the income statement than are collected in cash. Here the 20-F doesn't help, as Note 16 provides a table breaking the category down further but the drivers of the change remain classified as "other." Cash and equivalents declined considerably. Half of the decline in 2006 was due to currency issues. Current financial assets were up sharply over the two years, which also contributed to the cash decline. According to the 20-F, "Certain financial instruments hedge against risks related to the equity of foreign subsidiaries whose functional currency is not the euro (mainly the U.S. dollar). They qualify as "net investment hedges". Changes in fair value are recorded in shareholders' equity. The fair value of these instruments is recorded under "Current financial assets" or "Other current financial liabilities"." Given that the latter category declined considerably, favorable changes in the value of such hedges would seem to be a likely explanation for both shifts. Liabilities Total's long-term liabilities grew just 7.1% in 2005 and declined in 2006. As a percentage of total assets they fell from 18.8% to 15.6%. The main driver of the overall decline was a reduced liability for employee benefits. Looking at Note 18 in the 20F, we find that the expected future obligation has been reduced by approximately €900 million between 2005 and 2006. Specifically, the reduction was due to actuarial gains and losses, which reduced the reported obligation by €1.15 billion but merely reflect actuarial estimates. In addition, currency translation adjustments reduced the expected future liability by €900 million. Investors might want to ignore these adjustments or make their own adjustments to reflect their arbitrary and possibly unsustainable nature. Without these two adjustments the liability would have increased rather than decreased. Non-current debt increased 25.6% cumulatively, which was faster than the growth in total assets but slower than the growth in sales. Short-term borrowings increased substantially, particularly in 2006. This resulted from a larger portion of the non-current debt coming due in 2007. Accounts payable ballooned in 2005 but were reduced in 2006 such that cumulative growth was in line with the growth in sales and assets. The large increase in 2005 could have been resulted from an unusually large amount of purchases late in the year. Other current liabilities grew at a slower rate than sales or assets in both periods. Disclosure: Author is long UNITED STS OIL FD LP UNITS (USO) at time of publication. http://www.247wallst.com/2007/05/tot_common_size.html
France's Total hit with 2.9 mln usd fine for US refinery's 'harmful' emissions WASHINGTON (Thomson Financial) - French energy group Total has been given a 2.9 mln usd penalty by the US government for releasing "harmful emissions" from a Texas refinery, officials said yesterday. Aside from the penalty, Total has also agreed to spend 37 mln usd to upgrade its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to clean up the plant's emissions. "We are committed to enforcing the laws that protect the environment and public health, in an effort to continue bringing the refinery industry into compliance," said Matthew McKeown, acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's environment and natural resources division. The settlement with Total's US unit was overseen by the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. The government said Total's new measures would significantly cut emissions generated by flaring, during which byproduct-gas from the refining process is burned-off in a flaring device. tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com afp/jfr
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/006200704291456.htm Tata Chem looking for pan-India presence for its Khet-se store Mumbai, April. 29 (PTI): Tata Chemicals who recently formed joint venture company Khet-se Agri Produce Pvt Ltd, with US-based fruit and vegetable distributors Fyffes is looking for a pan-India presence in next 5-7 years. Under the joint venture we will set up agri-inputs shops for farmers and also establish collection centres to buy foodgrains and horticulture produce from farmers, Khet-se Agri Produce Head Guy Goves told PTI. The company will open 30 distribution centres across the country at a cost of Rs 10 crores for each centre. "We will expand to 20-30 cities in the next 5-7 years setting up our distribution centres for a pan India presence," Goves said. The distribution centres would come up in cities with one million plus population, he said. The joint venture has charted out an investment plan of Rs 26 crores to set up two distribution centres, one each in Ludhiana and Kolkata by January 2008. "We will roll out two distribution centres in Ludhiana and Kolkata at an investment of Rs 26 crores and get operational by January next year," he said.
The Associated Press April 24, 2007, 2:54PM EST French officials testify on oil spill PARIS Officials and environmentalists from regions affected by France's worst oil spill testified Tuesday to the lingering ecological and economic effects of the disaster, which they said killed as many as 75,000 birds and cost an estimated 320 million euros ($434 million). The testimony was part of the ongoing trial of oil giant Total SA over whether the sinking of the tanker "Erika," which wrecked off the coast of western France seven years ago, involved criminal wrongdoing. The tanker, carrying fuel oil owned by a Total division, split in two and sank in rough seas on Dec. 12, 1999, spewing nearly 22,000 tons of oil into the Atlantic. Officials from the Brittany, Pays-de-la-Loire and Poitou-Charentes regions put the estimated cost of the spill at 320 million euros ($434 million). A report by France's National Institute of Agronomic Research, to be released Wednesday, is expected to confirm the figure. The officials complained the compensation offers they'd received from Total and an intergovernmental organization that covers damage from oil spills were not sufficient. Jacques Auxiette, president of the Pays-de-la-Loire region, said propositions by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds only covered about two-thirds of the estimated damages. The head of the environmental group whose members worked to rescue oil-covered birds said the organization refused to pay the group the 240,000 euros ($326,000) it requested. Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, president of the League for the Protection of Birds, said about 75,000 oil-covered birds washed ashore in France following the spill. More than 40,000 of them were already dead, he said. Only 2,139 birds were saved. "So much money, so much effort, so much investment for such a result. I ask myself whether it was worth it," said Bougrain-Dubourg. Poitou-Charente vice president Francois Patsouris said the disaster had changed the way locals regard the ocean. "There is no longer a feeling of confidence between us and the sea," he said. "The sea is an important element in our lives," said Patsouris, who is also a shellfish cultivator. Total faces charges of pollution and "complicity in endangering people and property." Oil covered some 240 miles of coastline, blackening beaches and killing wildlife. If Total is found criminally negligent, the case could set a precedent in France. Under French law, companies have not had to pay damages for harming the environment -- in the past, they have only paid if the pollution harmed economic interests. The proceedings, which began in February, are expected to wrap up in June. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8ON558G0.htm
Total Pole Airship Mar. 05, 07 "Learning more about the mechanisms involved in climate change and the action required to slow the process and reduce future consequences is one of the key challenges of the 21st century. There is an urgent need for such action, and yet we still lack much of the information we need to ensure that our action is effective. As a major world energy player, Total is concerned by the climate change issue in many ways. Going beyond our initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of our operations and our products, Total has chosen to take an active part in the public debate on climate change and to partner efforts to gather the data that will help us gain a better understanding of this phenomenon. Obtaining new data thanks to innovative measurement technologies can certainly advance scientific knowledge in this area and Total is pleased to support the new expedition to the North Pole, to be led by Jean-Louis Etienne. This first field campaign to measure the thickness and extent of the polar sea ice should provide information that will be vital to further research on the ice pack and climate change, to be undertaken as part of International Polar Year 2007-2008." Christophe de Margerie Total's Chief Executive Officer http://www.total.com/en/group/news/news_2007/070111-total-pole-airship_11053.htm http://www.jeanlouisetienne.com/poleairship/EN/default.cfm Our first dive under the ice tuesday, april 17 2007 previous Weather overcast, snow, wind 20 kph, temperature -15°C. The camp has once again been hit by bad weather and we are snowed in by an almost-blizzard that softens the shapes around us, absorbing contrasts and reducing visibility. No flying today, but the diving team isn't worried by the weather conditions: now that they've finished cutting their hole they're keen to get down into the water and explore the underside of the ice pack. The diving site is about 800 metres from the Borneo camp. We have set up a dome tent there, with a little fuel heater so that it's a bit warmer for the divers to put on their diving suits before they slip into the icy water. They wear an impressive collection of gear: 2 air bottles, 2 flow regulators, a stabilizer, a harness with 15 kilos of lead weights, and an ice grapnel to cling to the underside of the ice if they have a problem. The divers go down in pairs, and whenever they're diving there's another diver suited up and ready to go if they need help, and a surface crewman at the end of the divers' lifeline. The first to go down are Ghislain and Jerome, charged with attaching the end of the mast that is positioned half in and half out of the water to provide a common geographic reference point for surface and underwater topography. Then the two divers explored within a radius of about 20 metres of the pressure ridge that we are going to measure. They came up speechless with wonder at the beauty of the ice above them and the clarity of the Arctic seawater. Sam and Laurent went down later and said it was a bit like floating in the cosmos. It didn't occur to any of them to complain about the cold even though the seawater temperature was -1.8°! Tomorrow we send down the ROV to start taking the first measurements of our subsea topographic survey. http://www.jeanlouisetienne.com/poleairship/EN/journal.cfm
Russia Total rectifies oil deposit breaches - Russian official 19:37 | 12/ 04/ 2007 MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti) -Total has rectified numerous violations at the Kharyaga oil deposit in northern Russia that the French energy giant is developing, the Russian Audit Chamber chairman said Thursday. In January, the Audit Chamber found the project operator had committed a number of violations, including underproduction of crude and a failure to meet the schedule and requirement for development works. "I should say Total has corrected the numerous violations that we registered," Sergei Stepashin said. He said the French side had considered all the proposals that the Audit Chamber had made concerning project profits and environmental issues. Total is developing the Kharyaga oilfield, in Russia's Yamal-Nenets autonomy, under a 1995 production-sharing agreement (PSA) signed with the Russian government for 29 years with possible extension till 33 years. A mineral resources regulator initiated license revocation discussions on Kharyaga at the end of last year after revealing that the operator had failed to follow the central commission's recommendations on the field's development, and in particular failed to observe the gas drive recovery process, burning up 60% of natural gas produced in 2005. Also last April, the Natural Resources Ministry accused Total of failing to meet its targets for Kharyaga under the PSA. It said the investor had failed to increase production of crude and introduce new technologies and equipment for effective production since the agreement came into force in 1999. Ministry experts warned that the situation could result in losses for Russia, as the country "would be forced to continue sending the entire deposit's output to the investor in compensation for its expenses." Total holds a controlling, 50% stake in a consortium set up to run the Kharyaga project, which also includes Norway's Hydro (40%) and the Nenets Oil Company (10%), controlled by the regional government. The French company is not the only Western operator to have come under the scrutiny of Russian regulators in recent months. In late March, Russia's environmental watchdog launched a probe into alleged environmental violations at the Sakhalin I hydrocarbon project, run by U.S. giant ExxonMobil off Russia's Pacific Coast. Months of pressure on Royal Dutch Shell, which was in charge of the Sakhalin II gas project, culminated last year in the purchase by Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom of 50% plus one share in the project. The Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP also received a warning about its license for the giant Kovykta natural gas deposit, in East Siberia, over an alleged failure to meet its obligations to supply nearby areas with gas. Analysts have said the raids are part of the Kremlin's drive to regain control of the country's vast mineral resources. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070412/63559376.html
Total S.A Form 20-F Filing RNS Number:6641U Total S.A. 11 April 2007 Filing of Form 20-F for the year 2006 Paris, April 11, 2007 - On April 10, 2007, Total SA filed its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2006 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The 2006 Form 20-F can be downloaded from the Company's website (www.total.com, under the heading Investor Relations / Publications), or from www.sec.gov, the website of the SEC. Printed copies of the Form 20-F can be requested, free of charge, at www.total.com under the heading Investor Relations/ Contact or by calling +33 (0)1 47 44 58 53 or, from the United States, 1-201-626- 3500 Total is one of the world's major oil and gas groups, with activities in more than 130 countries. Its 95,000 employees put their expertise to work in every part of the industry - exploration and production of oil and natural gas, refining and marketing, gas trading and electricity. Total is working to keep the world supplied with energy, both today and tomorrow. The Group is also a first rank player in chemicals, www.total.com This information is provided by RNS The company news service from the London Stock Exchange END MSCGCGDSDXBGGRB
Oil Rises From 12-Day Low; Iran Starts Industrial Enriching By Eduard Gismatullin April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose from a 12-day low in New York after Iran said it had started to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, in defiance of the United Nations. Iran, the Middle East's second-largest oil supplier, aims to install 50,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium as part of its nuclear program, Gholam Reza, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization said. Crude also gained on speculation rising gasoline demand and prolonged refinery maintenance may have cut U.S. motor-fuel supplies for a ninth straight week. ``There is a resurgence in tension due to Iran's announcement it will proceed with uranium enrichment,'' said Jean-Bernard Guyon, managing director of Global Gestion in Paris. ``Prices would be expected to drop'' in the second quarter on lower demand, ``however, U.S. stocks are low.'' Crude oil for May delivery increased as much as 48 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $61.99 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $61.90 at 11:35 a.m. in London. The contract tumbled $2.77, or 4.3 percent, to $61.51 a barrel yesterday, the lowest close since March 21 and the biggest one-day decline since Jan. 4. Prices plunged after the return of British naval personnel captured by Iran had eased concerns about deliveries from the Middle East. Brent crude oil for May settlement increased as much as 54 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $67.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the ICE Futures exchange. The contract was last at $66.80. `Fear Premium' Yesterday's statement that Iran had begun enriching uranium on an industrial scale defied the UN Security Council resolution, which gave Iran 60 days from March 24 to suspend enrichment. Iran had ignored three such deadlines. The Security Council demands were in response to allegations by the U.S. and some of its allies that Iran is using the development of nuclear power to produce weapons in contravention of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. ``There is still significant amount of fear premium built in as long this ongoing battle goes on between the West and Iran over the nuclear issue,'' said Guy Gleichmann, the president of United Strategic Investors Group, from Hollywood, Florida. ``This looks like an escalation.'' Oil futures reached $68.09 a barrel on March 27, the highest since Sept. 6, after Iran seized 15 British marines and sailors in the Persian Gulf. They were returned to the U.K. on April 5. Iran is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Almost a quarter of the global supply flows through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Gulf. `Well Supplied' The crude market is ``well supplied,'' Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah told reporters in Doha today. Oil prices have been ``affected by geopolitics and speculation which we have no control over.'' U.S. gasoline inventories possibly fell 1.4 million barrels in the week ending April 6, based on a Bloomberg News survey of 10 analysts. Refiners usually increase output this time of year to meet peak summer driving demand. Gasoline stockpiles probably fell to 203.8 million barrels in the week ended April 6, according to a Bloomberg survey. That would leave supplies 1.4 percent lower than the 206.7 million barrels average for that period in the last five years, according to Bloomberg calculations using Energy Department data. Falling Inventories Gasoline inventories declined 9.7 percent to 205.2 million barrels in the eight weeks ended March 30, according to U.S. Energy Department data. Demand, based on deliveries from refineries, jumped to a 15-week high that week, and averaged 9.3 million barrels a day in the four weeks, 1.7 percent more than the same period a year earlier, the department said last week. Gasoline for May delivery rose 1.33 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.108 a gallon in after-hours trading in London. ``The key issue for the most traders is the gasoline,'' said Gleichmann. ``Gasoline supplies in near-term are in shortfall.'' The department's weekly inventory report tomorrow also will probably show U.S. crude-oil supplies rose to a four-month high last week as fires and plant breakdowns slowed refinery demand. Oil stockpiles probably gained 1.95 million barrels last week, from 332.7 million barrels on March 30, based on the median estimate from the Bloomberg News analyst survey. Refinery utilization probably rose to 87.5 percent, from 87 percent the two previous weeks. Crude-oil supplies in Cushing, Oklahoma, where oil traded in New York is delivered, surged 12 percent in the week ended March 30, according to Energy Department data. Fires and power outages have forced refiners to shut units, reducing crude-oil demand and slowing efforts to stockpile fuel for the summer. Total SA, Europe's third-largest oil company, yesterday said it is conducting emergency flaring at its 240,000 barrel a day refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Motiva Enterprises LLC, the refining joint venture between Europe's Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Arabia's state oil company, said the failure of a sulfur-recovery unit at its 285,000 barrel-a-day plant in the city required emergency flaring on April 8. To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net Last Updated: April 10, 2007 06:55 EDT http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=av5Zy1icXlNY&refer=news
Friday, April 6, 2007 Total boss says unaware of any US corruption probe By AFP React Send by e-mail Save Print PARIS, April 5, 2007 (AFP) - The head of French oil group Total said Thursday he had not been informed of an investigation by US authorities into the company's activities in Iran and Iraq. "I have not received anything (from US authorities)," chief executive Christophe de Margerie told reporters on the sidelines of an oil industry conference here. The Financial Times newspaper, citing unnamed sources, had reported Tuesday that the US Department of Justice was probing Total's activities amid suspicions the company may have broken US laws against overseas bribes. The sources told the paper the inquiry was at a preliminary stage and that investigators would seek an informal interview with Margerie. The Total boss has already been targeted in French corruption probes into the Iraq "oil-for-food" bribes scandal and, more recently, a major gas deal signed by Total in Iran in 1997. He was put under investigation by a French judge last month after being detained by police on suspicions of "corruption of foreign public agents and misuse of corporate assets," a judicial source told AFP at the time. Total denies any wrongdoing. http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/news/business/20070504-Total.html
Total executive confirms no plan to keep Sanofi-Aventis stake PARIS (AFX) - Yves-Louis Darricarrere, head of Total's exploration and production activities, said the oil group does not plan to keep its 13.1 pct stake in drug manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis, reiterating comments made last year by Total's finance director. "The goal is not to remain" in Sanofi-Aventis, Darricarrere said at an oil conference in Paris. Total holds 13.1 pct of Sanofi-Aventis' capital and 19 pct of the voting rights. Finance director Robert Castaigne had said last year that Total planned to withdraw steadily from the drug company. Fellow shareholder L'Oreal also stated recently that it may sell its 10.5 pct holding in Sanofi-Aventis in order to fund acquisitions of luxury cosmetics brands. paris@afxnews.com afp/gt/jsa
This week in bad energy news Jeff Sanford Canadian Business Online, April 2, 2007 This past Thursday the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent, non-partisan group that works on behalf of Congress to monitor the programs of the executive branch, released a long awaited report on Peak Oil. The fact that Congress's has released this report should bring some legitimacy to the issue, which revolves around whether there is a looming peak in the production of hydrocarbons, after which output of oil and its fossil-fuel confreres will begin a long decline. Of course, it's belated confirmation of what many assume already. For those who have been following the issue, there isn't much new in the report. Pushed by Maryland Representative Paul Bartlett, it calls Peak Oil a geological fact and notes that no one disputes the idea, only the timing of the onset of decline (estimates range from now until 2040). The report does confirm that U.S. domestic production peaked in the Lower 48 in 1970 at 10 million barrels, and has since declined to production of just five million barrels, a fact that has forced the US to rely more heavily on foreign oil than ever. The report concludes that there is a chance the onset of hydrocarbon decline will lead to a worldwide depression, and suggests that the U.S. government develop a plan to deal with the issue at the very least. You don't need a report to realize that there are a lot of interesting shifts taking place within the energy sector. On a recent trip to Belgium, I noticed many of the European papers were closely following a story coming out of France involving an employee of French oil giant Total. It was being reported that Christophe de Margerie, then a senior executive at Total, was charged after an investigation found funds in a Swiss bank account controlled by a secretary of the former were connected to former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Those funds were traced back to Total, and De Margerie is accused of paying a bribe to Iranian officials so that Total could have a stake in the massive South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf. As one of the world's largest natural gas fields, South Pars is a rich resource, and the allegation is that Total bought its way into the development of the field alongside Russia's Gazprom and the Malaysian natural gas firm Petronas. But what else are you going to do in areas of the world where corruption and bribes are common? In an era when Western oil companies increasingly find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to access to oil and gas reserves (reserves outside the Mideast are generally running down, something the GAO report confirms), the bare facts of the energy industry are that you've got to get in bed with those who have the resources, no matter what the business practices. According to a source quoted in the New York Times, the predicament of De Margerie is one that will become more of an issue for the rest of the world's oil companies as reserves outside the Mideast run down. "A lot of oil majors are going to have to move toward Total's model rather than the other way around as they replace volumes from the United States and the North Sea," the analyst was quoted as saying. The facts of geology and limited hydrocarbon reserves are going to force corporations and governments into a tough decision: Do you cling to your ideals or do you keep the lights on? It's interesting to note that since the charges surfaced, De Margerie has been promoted to CEO of Total Group, which puts him at the top of the French elite. He is currently negotiating a $10 billion LNG development at South Pars. It's almost as if France has developed a bi-polar condition about what to do about its energy sector. But what choice does it, or any western country, really have? On the bright side for France, it is one of the most nuclear-dependent nations in terms of electrical generation and isn't as dependent on fossil fuels as, say, the United States. Not surprisingly, the GAO report suggested that because of its huge reliance on large autos and relatively low public transportation, the U.S. will be the most adversely affected by problems arising as a result of peaking oil. Let's hope it gets some kind of plan in place. One of the most outspoken members of the Peak Oil contingent, Matt Simmons, an author and energy industry investment banker from Houston, was on CNBC last week and called the GAO report an important step forward for the U.S. in dealing with the issue. But that was about all he had to say that was positive. He also talked- a bit alarmingly - about some of the problems brewing in Mexico. Down at the southern end of the NAFTA geographical area, the 69th anniversary of PEMEX, the Mexican national oil company, was observed. The event is a big one in Mexico, where PEMEX is the pride of a nation and provides 40% of government revenue. The problem, however, is that production at PEMEX fell 2.3% last year, causing the CEO to suggest the company is in "critical condition." So far the debate has been over what to do about the drop in production and whether the Mexican constitution should be rewritten to allow foreign companies to work on the country's oil assets - something currently against the law, but which might see new technology brought in that could help keep production up. But would even that be enough? According to Simmons, the problem with PEMEX isn't technology; it's really one of Peak Oil. One of the world's great oil fields is Cantarell, located in the Bay of Campeche (the southernmost area of the Gulf of Mexico), and it has been worked by PEMEX for years. According to Simmons, it's gone into decline. "That's a disaster happening in front of our eyes," said Simmons last week. He mentioned he had been in Mexico the week before and suggested Canterell is down 20% in a year, a frightening prospect. "[Canterell] produces six out of every 10 barrels from our friendliest supplier right across the border," said Simmons. (Let's ignore the diss to Canada there.) "The big discussion in PEMEX is, will the 20% persist or might it ease off to 14%? I raised the issue it might go to 25%." So it's not just tensions with Iran that are pushing the price of oil. T. Boone Pickens, a famous Texas oil investor, also appeared on television last week and was asked about his outlook on oil prices. He didn't quibble: "I think we'll go to $75 before we go to $55." Pickens also suggested natural gas could be on its way up thanks to the buildout going on in the ethanol sector. Linking energy and food markets is a radical shift in the economy, any way you measure it. But Pickens was concerned about the strain ethanol will put on natural gas supply. Corn, of course, is an energy-intensive crop. It takes a lot of fertilizer and water to grow it in abundant amounts, and last week the USDA reported that more corn has been planted this year than at any time since 1948. All of that could affect the demand for natural gas. "It's the fuel used to pump the water to irrigate," Pickens said, before concluding: "It's going to be an interesting year in energy." No kidding. http://www.canadianbusiness.com/shared/print.jsp?content=20070402_164225_5464
Total CEO goes to Russia for talks with Gazprom over Shtokman partnership MOSCOW (AFX) - Total CEO Christophe de Margerie met his counterpart at Gazprom Alexei Miller in Moscow to discuss Total's involvement in the Shtokman gas field, according to Gazprom. They discussed partnerships in the gas sector in general, Gazprom said. "In particular, the two sides discussed the possibility of a partnership within the framework of the Shtokman gas project," the Russian company said. newsdesk@afxnews.com afp/jsa
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